Fescinal 2013 comes to Madrid

Image via Fescinal

Image via Fescinal

During the summer, Madrileños love spending their evenings outdoors. This weekend is a perfect example of how Madrid makes the most of its warm summer nights by showing movies in the great outdoors. The annual Fescinal movie festival kicks off this weekend and will bring a variety of films to Madrid’s Bombilla Park. From June 27 to September 7, you can see classic Spanish films as well as more recent releases. All together, there are 100 films planned over the span of 73 days and two screens.

Doors open at 9pm and the movies begin at 10:15pm. There are two separate screening areas (one for each movie) both outdoors  in the park, alongside the Manzanares River. If you’re looking for movies played in original version (labeled VOS), they will be playing on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Some of the films playing this weekend include To Rome with Love from Director Woody Allen and Tim Burton’s film Frankenweenie.

Image via Fescinal

Image via Fescinal

You can get tickets at the door as of 9pm, but you can also purchase them in advance online.  Tickets are available for 6 € for adults or you can purchase a 10 movie pass for 54€, kids ages 4 and younger are free.

Where: Bombilla Park, located on Avenida de Valladolid s/n

Entrance is behind the Iglesia de San Anton

Metro: Principe Pio

Contact: Visit their website  or call 609 762 365 or 611 600 448

Y Mientras Mueves: So much more than pilates

Image via Y Mientras Mueves

Image via Y Mientras Mueves

The day I was set to go check out what I thought was a pilates studio with Aimara Zimmerman, I have to confess, I tried to dress to impress. Well, as much as you can for a gym, anyway. I chose a top that I thought had a bit of spunk and my most flattering capris, half expecting to be joining a class full of other people, also attempting to look good whilst working out (as if that’s even possible!).

When I arrived at Y Mientras Mueves, I found a cute little ceramic shop and called Aimara to let her know I was there. She said she was already inside and to come on in. I peered through the window, slightly confused, and there she was, inside the shop on the mezzanine floor, where she has her studio.

Not what I was expecting, but somehow very fitting once you get to know Aimara and her relaxed, easy-going nature.

Image via Y Mientras Mueves

Image via Y Mientras Mueves

Y Mientras Mueves is a pilates, gyrotonic, gyrokinesis and feldenkrais method studio two minutes from the the Argüelles or Moncloa metro station. If the location is not convenient for you, Aimara also currently has the option of private classes in student’s homes.

The stunning and tranquil Aimara says that most people start coming to her for pilates (which she is clearly an awesome instructor of given her background), but that is just the hook. Most of her students end up moving on to her other training techniques and methods.

But what are these strange, tongue-twisting techniques, you ask? Well, gyrotonic and gyrokinesis make up what used to be called Yoga for Dancers, it was designed by New York Opera Ballet dancer Juliu Horvath after he suffered debilitating injuries that ended his dancing career. They are both highly adaptable methods, meaning that anyone regardless of age, background or physical condition, can use the system to gain strength, flexibility and balance.


Image via Y Mientras Mueves

Image via Y Mientras Mueves

Feldenkrais is another technique also based on movement, but with a completely different philosophy to what we’re used to. Those like me who come from a sporting background are used to pushing our bodies beyond what we think is our limit in order to improve. The Feldenkrais method is based around training the brain so that the body moves more easily and efficiently.

Whether you’re new to these techniques or not, they’re ideal for people of all shapes and sizes who are looking for exercise options on their way through Madrid. Aimara offers group and private classes at a highly reasonable rate, and tailors classes for each student.

I was lucky enough to attend two Feldenkrais classes and have to admit, I came out feeling like a new person.

Where: Calle Gaztambide 24

Metro: Arguelles or Moncloa

Phone Number: 696.032.032​​


Hanakura: Authentic and affordable Japanese food in Madrid

Its right next to Plaza Olavide

Its right next to Plaza Olavide

In Madrid, eating anything other than Spanish food can sometimes be expensive. Recently, my husband and I went out to dinner with some friends from Japan and they took us to Hanakura, their favorite Japanese restaurant in Madrid. They had been to most Japanese restaurants in Madrid and found that many where simply too expensive or that they only served sushi, but when they went to Hanakura, they found that the price and quality were unmatched.

I’d seen this place before, its located right alongside Plaza Olavide,  but had yet to try it. Little did I know what I had been missing.

We started with the classic combination of beer and edamame. Then, they insisted that we follow by ordering Okonomiyaki. I had no idea what it was and although I glanced at the picture provided in the menu, I was completely unprepared! It’s a type of Japanese savory pancake and at Hanakura, you can pick from a beef, vegetarian or seafood filling. We opted for beef, which came topped with cheese and came on a bed of cabbage and thick, udon noodles. The weirdest thing of all was how delicious it was! 

Okonomiyaki on the left

Okonomiyaki on the left

Next we had the Karaage con ponzu, which is essentially a dish of fried chicken breast with a salty, vinegar sauce called ponzu. Then, we shared a plate of sushi, all the pieces I tried were very good quality fish. Finally, we decided shared Dorayaki, which is similar to a sweet pancake filled with a semi-sweet fruit and a small dab of whipped cream.

Dorayaki dessert

Dorayaki dessert

At this point, my friends mentioned that in Japan, it is customary to finish off by enjoying a cup of green tea. It was the perfect end to an unexpectedly great meal.

Where: Calle Murillo, 4

Metro: Iglesia or Quevedo

Hours:  Open Tuesday to Thursday from 1:30pm to 4pm* and 8:30pm to midnight

Open Friday to Sunday from 2pm to 4:30pm and from 8:30pm to midnight

*They also offer a fantastic menu del dia M-F

Where to catch the best live music shows in Madrid

Image via Eljunco.com

Image via Eljunco.com

Madrid has quite the reputation for its nightlife. While there are plenty of venues to catch the big names that come through town and fantastic options for flamenco, there are also smaller, more intimate venues. We put together a list of some of the best venues to catch local music acts, check it out:

El Junco

El Junco mostly offers jazz shows, but also mixes it up with blends like Brazilian bands, rock and flamenco. Another plus? They have an English option for their website.

Plaza Santa Barbara, 10

Metro: Alonso Martinez


Café Populart is a small, but intimate venue. There is no cover charge, but drinks can get a bit pricey. Fortunately, they make one of the best gin and tonics in Madrid, and with free entertainment, its worth it. However, people here are serious jazz fans, so if you’re in the mood to chat, sit near the front door. Oh, and one more thing- call ahead to reserve a table, otherwise you’ll most likely find yourself standing.

Where: Calle Huertas, 42

Metro: Anton Martin

Inside Café Central

Inside Café Central

Café Central

This venue opened in 1982 and has since become one of the best places to go to for live jazz. There is usually a cover charge between 5 and 15 Euros depending on the band. They also offer food and excellent cocktails, but call ahead to make a reservation.

Plaza del Angel, 10

Metro: Anton Martin

Imagia via Clamores.com

Imagia via Clamores.com

Clamores Jazz 

This is a another great option for jazz enthusiasts. Clamores has been around for 30 years and features both up and coming acts as well as well-know musicians. Check the site for ticket information as purchasing ahead may be required depending on the show.

Calle Alburquerque, 14

Metro: Bilbao

Libertad 8 

If you’re looking for a laid-back kind of place, Libertad 8 is exactly where you need to go. It’s right in the heart of the Chueca neighborhood and is a funky venue that features a variety of live music with a bohemian twist.

Calle de la Libertad, 8

Metro: Gran Via or Chueca

Image via Cafe de la Palma

Image via Cafe de la Palma

Café La Palma 

Café La Palma is a great place to go for those seeking a more up-beat, young party vibe. They turn the venue into a dance club when not featuring live music, so make sure to check the calendar to see what is playing and when.

Calle de palma, 62

Metro: San Bernardo or Noviciado

Soul Station

So you need a bit of soul in your life? Soul Station has just the cure, each night it brings different bands that play either Blues, Funk, Soul, R&B or Pop. Usually there is no cover charge, but it depends on the band. They also have stand up comedy from 9pm to 10:30pm, so live music does not start until around midnight.

Cuesta de Santo Domingo 22

Metro : Opera or Callao

La Boca del Lobo

There are two locations for La Boca del Lobo, but only this one has live shows and has become one of the best places for live rock shows in Madrid. It also turns into a club when there isn’t live music programmed, check their site for more details

Calle Echegaray, 11

Metro: Sevilla

Image via Barco Bar

Image via Barco Bar

Barco bar

Barco Bar offers a great array of live music acts. More importantly, their site gives a great description of their featured bands, making it much easier to choose which up and coming bands to go see.

Calle del Barco, 34

Metro: Tribunal or Gran Via




PhotoEspaña; Celebrating the body through photography

Image via Loewe

Image via Loewe

Madrid is currently hosting PhotoEspaña, one of the largest and most celebrated photography festivals in the world. Now through the 28th of July, you can visit one of more than 70 exhibitions throughout the city. This year’s theme is Body: Eros and Politics. The theme looks at sexuality, but also liberation and affirmation of gender and sexual orientation discrimination. Subjects include everything form women active in the women’s liberation movement to the Kennedys. 

Some of exhibition highlights include:

Woman. The Feminist Avant-Garde from the 1970’s

By Photographer Fernando Brito

El Circulo de las Bellas Artes

Calle de Alcala, 42


The Kennedys

By Photographer Mark Shaw

The Loewe store

Calle Serrano 26


Your/My Pleasure

By Photographers Luis González and Graciela de Oliveira

Casa América

Plaza de Cibeles, 2


The Natural Darkness of Things

By Photographer Laura Torrado

Cana de Isabel II Exhibition Hall

Calle de Santa Engracia, 125


Written on the Body

By Photographer Shirin Neshat

Espacio Fundación Telefónica

Gran Via 28


Tableau vivant

By Photographer Azucena Vieites

Reina Sofía Museum

Calle de Santa Isabel 52


When: From now until July 28th

Where: Various locations throughout Madrid

For a complete listing of exhibitions and activities, visit PhotoEspaña